2013 PGA Championship Interview Transcript: JUSTIN ROSE
KELLY ELBIN: With a 29 on his second nine holes of golf today, 2013 U.S. Open Champion Justin Rose in with a 66 in the second round of the 95th PGA Championship, at this point one stroke behind the leader, Adam Scott. The 29 is also one shot shy of the low nine hole score in PGA Championship history.
Justin, great playing. Talk a bit about what kind of kick started there on No. 1, and proceeded all the way through No. 9.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I mean, the rain stopped. That was pretty much it. Fresh glove, took the rain pants off, and began to feel like you could get after the golf course. The front nine was very difficult. Obviously I started my day bogey, bogey, and really kind of had a sense of, wow, this is just going to be a struggle today. We are going to have to really just hang tough.
17 and 18, at the end of our front nine, were playing just incredibly difficult. So I hit the tee shot down 1, still in the rain, but hit it in the fairway and then hit a 7 iron to about 15 feet and made a nice putt there to get myself back under par for the tournament. I felt like I was in a bit of a rebuilding phase of the tournament. I was all the way back to even, so I kind of said to myself, right, let's just rebuild from here, let's not look in the past having dropped a couple shots and see where we can get to from even par.
Obviously I got hot. Adam had showed us how you can play this golf course. He made it look easy for a couple of days and obviously it was my turn to get things going low. I had good numbers on the back nine. That's the other thing, a lot of numbers just fit the yardage perfectly and I had the right club and I was able to take advantage. Obviously I hit ... I didn't make long putts, but I made a lot of putts. So I made pretty much every putt from around 12 feet that I had on the back nine.
KELLY ELBIN: If you would quickly, starting on 1, the six birdies.
JUSTIN ROSE: Driver, 7 iron to 15 feet on 1.
3 wood, wedge to about a couple of inches on No. 2.
4 iron to 12, 14 feet on No. 3.
5, I hit 3 wood, 9 iron to about eight feet.
On No. 8, I hit driver, wedge to about ten, 12 feet.
On No. 9, I hit driver, 8 iron to about four feet.
KELLY ELBIN: Terrific.
JUSTIN ROSE: Pretty easy (smiling).
Q. When Scotty won the Masters and sent you that text, "This is our time" you appeared to have taken it very literally, you winning the U.S. Open and now here you are again. I mean, seriously, how is it, the confidence of what you two are doing this year; how is it different? How have you changed as players? Because we now are used to seeing you at the top of leaderboards now all the time.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think ... well, speaking for Adam, obviously it's sometimes easier to see it in someone else, but he's preparing for it, preparing for the Majors specifically, and I think I'm getting to that point now this year where I've really focused on my preparation and really come into them, really, really focusing on them as trying to peak for them.
I think when you're not 100 percent ready to win majors, every week is a big week, but then I feel like you get your game to a point where you're trying to make sure it's ready four times a year. Obviously Adam has done a great job of that, I don't know, in the last couple of years, I think he's been up there a lot. He's the best player, by far, in the Majors, if you take total shots over the four or five last Majors, anyway.
But I feel like I'm beginning to get into that same mind set and I feel like my game suits the tougher golf courses. I've worked hard on my game and I've worked hard at my skill set, and I feel like ball striking wise, the tougher courses sort of lends itself to that and I've always felt I've got a good short game; it can be streaky at times, but I've got all the shots. Now it's just a matter of bringing them out a little bit more regularly.
Q. Are you at all surprised to see the low scores we've seen the last couple days here on this course?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, starting the week, I wouldn't have said it was going to be that way, but in practice, I felt that the course was set up perfectly; that if you went out and you played well, there was a score to be had. But if you struggled, you were going to have a hard time making pars out there. So I thought it was a really good setup from that perspective.
And the course wasn't quite as long as I had anticipated it playing in practice. Obviously it showed its teeth a little bit with the ball not running at all. There are some very long holes out there. But if you do put it in play with soft greens, guys are still going to be able to take advantage.
The course will show its teeth at some point this week. The greens will get firm and fast, especially by Sunday, and Oak Hill will always need to be respected, that's for sure.
Q. Can you talk a little ... a lot of guys, talented players who have struggled to win their first major, it sometimes is a liberation factor. You kind of feel liberated you won and win more. Phil would be a pretty good example of that. He went a long time without it. Is there some truth to that? And even though you've only been a major championship winner for a short period of time, do you feel that liberates you to move on?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's wonderful to be in this situation right now, talking about having done it; talking about feeling like you can win more, believing in yourself, not talking about how I hope it could happen this week. So I think that alone makes it easier.
Yeah, I think I take confidence and encouragement from the fact that I think Phil was 33 when he won his first major ... I think that's right ... I could be wrong. He is right now could be considered one of the greats of the game I think, especially if he gets one more U.S. Open, he goes down in an all time, very short list.
It's motivating to know that you can still build that kind of career in your 30s. But at the same time, you know, you understand how hard it is. There's great players like myself or as good as myself, as I should say, who haven't been able to win a major. So you don't want to sort of ... I feel grateful to have the monkey off my back and focus forward and look at each of them coming up as opportunities.
Q. You and Adam were hitting a driver fairly often today. How nice was it to do that, and how much of an advantage is it to be able to still use a driver and keep it in play and set yourself up maybe for better approaches?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. I've changed driver to the new TaylorMade SLDR driver at Akron, actually, because I felt like these two weeks of golf are going to be very key to drive the ball well, and I felt like this club was hitting a little straighter, more consistently.
Then when I got to Oak Hill, I thought the club wasn't in the bag as much as I had anticipated it being, but today, yesterday, with the slightly softer conditions, you were forced to hit it a lot more holes, like No. 1 and No. 9 and No. 8, holes like that. I've been able to drive it down there in play, and give yourself mid to short irons ... that's when you can take advantage of the soft greens.
Q. You talked about you still need to respect the course, but we've seen some pretty substantial birdie runs from a number of players in this field over the first two days. Does that circumstance force all the field to sort of reset and think a little more aggressively as they go through the weekend?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it course offers you the chance like I did to make up, play a great round of golf. But I think if you're in and around the lead, it's also a golf course that you still need to play very strategically. It's always going to reward fairways and greens and the odd made putt. This golf course will never be, the fact, that you have to chase pins every day. You hit it in the middle of the green every day, every single player on the whole golf course will take that and take their chances from there. You will still keep pace shooting 1 or 2 under par around here every day of the week.
Q. Did you get any advice from people who had been successful at this golf course before, like people who have played in the '95 Ryder Cup Team or someone who had played in 2003 or even Nick Faldo, who had been in a playoff with Curtis Strange? Or did you just figure it out by yourself?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I pretty much figured out not to do anything I did in 2003. But pretty much figured it out myself. I haven't sought out any advice. I think to be honest with you, setting up a golf course is something that is very personal, and for example, at Merion, that's what I felt like I did exceptionally well. That's one week that I had a game plan and I stuck to it and it was the right game plan. Sometimes you can set up your game plan and you can be too cautious or you can too aggressive, and at Merion, it just worked perfectly. I think it's a very personal thing, and I think on this golf course, I also understood that your game plan can change a little bit. Holes like No. 2 I saw as a 4 iron the first two and left me a 6 iron into the green and with the front right pin placement today I hit 3 wood so I could spin it back. So you're always having to really adjust it a little bit.
Q. Have you broken 30 for nine holes before? And are there any head to head duels you've had with Adam in the past that will stick in the memory?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I'm pretty confident saying that I have broken 30 before. I couldn't tell you where or when. Certainly not in a major; that's definitely different.
Yeah, I had one great duel with Adam down the stretch in the 2001 Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa. I think I had about a 10 foot putt to force a playoff on the last hole which I didn't make, but he won the tournament. We both played really, really well on the weekend and we had a great battle.
Q. Two completely unrelated questions. After Phil won the British last month, he has spoken about the fact that he just views himself differently, feels differently about himself. I wonder if you have felt that way since Merion at all, and even in this short period of time.
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I think since Merion, I've been trying to get back to feeling like myself, which was what was working well. I was very comfortable with where my game was. I was very comfortable with where I was with my life. Obviously I feel like getting a balance back is what I've been working on since Merion.
But confidence wise, absolutely. I sit here today, really relishing the opportunity on the weekend to try and win another major, you know, with no hesitation which there may have been a few years ago because you don't know how it's going to pan out or how you're going to deal with it, so that's different.
Q. Playing with Phil the last two days, seemed like he was really fighting his game yesterday in particular. Just wonder what your observations were when you were not dialed into your game about him and maybe conversations you guys during the couple of days.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, with Phil, it's hole to hole, really. What you do notice about Phil is his commitment. When he needs to hit a good tee shot down the last hole, I wasn't sure what the cut line was going to be, but he's playing the last hole 2 over, and you know he's in trouble in a sense, but he commits to a great tee shot. He really brings out his best often when he really needs to make a swing. That's the impressive thing about Phil.
But yeah, absolutely. It has not quite been there 100 percent. I'm sure even when you've won five Majors, winning a major does drink distraction at times. It's a very short period of time between The Open Championship and suddenly the Akron and the US PGA. Who knows if he's had as much time as he'd like to really gear up again.
Q. How challenging was it earlier on today when the rain was at its heaviest and you were having to keep your grips dry continually, and what was your mind set reaching the turn before you stormed home?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it really was challenging. I was struggling. I was struggling to flight the ball off the tee. I was struggling to really stay in my routine. My routine requires that I take one hand off the club and sort of do a Plumb Bob, and I wasn't doing that because I was trying to keep a grip on the club at all times, and you are kind of out of you comfort zone immediately because of the elements. And your caddie is over with the umbrella, and you're actually telling him, that's good, go away now.
So you're actually saying stuff in your routine that you wouldn't otherwise do, so it definitely upsets the balance a little bit. That's how I felt, anyway. It was a hard work front nine for me.
But I think there was just a nice ... it just happened at a nice time that the rain stopped and literally sort of putting on a new glove, that was like my mental trigger for something different on the back nine; something to use as, let's start afresh now.
Q. You hit quite a shot yesterday out of the right rough at 18. Looked like you took enough turf to make a tossed salad. How brutal was the rough today and how will it affect play the rest of the day?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, for sure, the rough is thick. When it's wet, it plays even heavier than when it's dry, so you can read a lie and think ... and I think it's often the case with a long iron or a hybrid when you're trying to dig it out of the rough and you think that you can advance it 200 yards and you can read that lie, and when it's wet like this, it can be a lot more dangerous to do that.
I think the biggest challenge this afternoon might be the ball picking up mud on the fairways. This morning, it was still raining, so you know the ball would land and it would make a big pitchmark, but because it was wet, the mud doesn't stick to the ball. If it doesn't rain this afternoon by the time you get to four or five o'clock, the ball could be picking up mud, and obviously the greens being very soft there could be some heel prints out there, so I think that's the challenge that the afternoon wave will face.
KELLY ELBIN: Justin Rose, one shot out of the lead at the PGA Championship, thank you.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports ...